The Kikuyu language online: Future tenses


This is the Second part in the study of tenses. The First part, The Kikuyu language: Past tenses,has been covered in a hub by that name.For an introduction to the Kikuyu language, go to the hub The Kikuyu Language: vocabulary and conversation practice.’ The basics of Kikuyu spelling, pronunciation and a basic vocabulary are given in a simple style. Scholars in linguistics will find the hub on Kikuyu Phonology useful. I do not claim to be an expert in linguistics but being a native speaker, I believe that my writing will be useful to the eager student willing to teach themselves. Experts in linguistics are welcome to offer ideas on how to preserve this ancient language. In this hub, I have attempted to give examples of the present tenses as I know them, beginning with the first person. The reader is encouraged to try the exercises given below to test his or her understanding.

In kikuyu, a sentence can inform you whether something will happen later today or tomorrow and into the future by only a slight modification of the verb.

The past has four tense forms to mean 1. A moment ago, 2. early today, 3. Yesterday and 4. Day after yesterday - Example: ria (eat) 1. Waria 2. ũrĩire 3. ũrarĩire 4. Warĩire – all in second person.

The future has only two tense forms – 1. Moments later and anytime today, 2. Tomorrow and anytime in the distant future. This will be very clear after going through the exercise below.


1. First Person

From a few moments later to any time today - Me

It is common to start all the sentences with ‘Niĩ’ to mean me and ‘Nĩ’which has the literal meaning of ‘is’ to emphasise ‘will.’ The two words are an unnecessary repetitions especially in written form. Below is an example:

Niĩ nĩ ngũkĩra dagĩka Ikũmi ciathira – Me I will wake up after ten minutes

When a word appears in brackets at the beginning of the sentence, it can be omitted without affecting the meaning. The most appropriate English translation has been given medium type.


Note that the ‘First person’ prefixes are ‘Ngũ and Ngwĩ’ in the future of today

(Nĩ) Ngũkĩra dagĩka Ikũmi ciathira – I will wake up ten minutes later.

(Nĩ) Ngwĩthamba na maĩ mahoro – I will take a bath with cold water.

(Nĩ) Ngwĩhumba nguo naihenya – I will put on my clothes quickly.

(Nĩ) Ngũruga ũcũrũ wa mũtũ wa mũhĩa – I will made some porridge with sorghum flour.

(Nĩ) Ngũcoka hinge mũrango ndoima – Then I will shut (lock) the door after leaving.

All the sentences above can also start with Ũmũthĩ - today


Anytime tomorrow and into the future - me

Note that the ‘First person’ prefixes are ‘Ngo and Nga and Nge’ in the future of tomorrow and beyond.

(Nĩ) Ngokĩra dagĩka Ikũmi ciathira – I will wake up ten minutes later.

(Nĩ) Ngethamba na maĩ mahoro – I will take a bath with cold water.

(Nĩ) Ngehumba nguo naihenya – I will put on my clothes quickly.

(Nĩ) Ngaruga ũcũrũ wa mũtũ wa mũhĩa – I will made some porridge with sorghum flour.

(Nĩ) Ngacoka hinge mũrango ndoima – Then I will shut (lock) the door after leaving.


All the sentences above can also start with Rũciũ (tomorrow) or kĩmera kĩu kĩngĩ (the next season) as the case may be.


Exercise 1.

Write the following words in the tenses above i.e. 1. A few moments later or anytime today. 2. Any time tomorrow or later in the future.

Example: rĩa (eat) 1. Ngũrĩa 2. Ngarĩa

Tengera (ran), Ikara (stay), Koma (sleep), ona (see), igua (hear), ĩkĩra (put), ruga (cook), aka (make – construct), rĩma (dig), rũgama (stand), tonya (enter), tuma (sew), rora (look) Thikĩrĩria (listen).


1. Second Person

A few moments later or anytime today - you

It is common to start all the sentences with ‘We’ (like in Wednesday) to mean you, but it is an unnecessary repetition. It has nonetheless been put in brackets.

Note that the ‘Second person’ prefixes are ‘Ũgũ, Ũgwi, Ũkwĩ and Ũkũ’ in the future of today.

(We) Ũgũkĩra dagĩka Ikũmi ciathira – You will wake up ten after ten minutes.

(We) Ũgwithamba na maĩ mahoro – You will take a bath with cold water.

(We) Ũkwĩhumba nguo naihenya – You will put on your clothes quickly.

(We) Ũkũruga ũcũrũ wa mũtũ wa mũhĩa - You will make some porridge with sorghum flour.

(We) Ũgũcoka ũhinge mũrango Woima – Then will shut (lock) the door after leaving.

All the sentences can also start with Ũmũthĩ - today

Anytime tomorrow and into the future - you

Note that the ‘Second person’ prefixes are ‘Ũgo, Ũge, Ũke and Ũga’ in the future of today.

(We) Ũgokĩra dagĩka Ikũmi ciathira – You will wake up ten after ten minutes.

(We) Ũgethamba na maĩ mahoro – You will take a bath with cold water.

(We) Ũkehumba nguo naihenya – You will put on your clothes quickly.

(We) Ũkaruga ũcũrũ wa mũtũ wa mũhĩa - You will make some porridge with sorghum flour.

(We) Ũgacoka ũhinge mũrango Woima – Then you will shut (lock) the door after leaving.

Exercise 2.

Write the following words in the second person tenses above i.e.

Example: ria (eat) 1. Ũkũrĩa 2. Ũkarĩa

Tengera (ran), Ikara (stay), Koma (sleep), ona (see), igua (hear), ĩkĩra (put), ruga (cook), aka (make – construct), rĩma (dig), rũgama (stand), tonya (enter), tuma (sew), rora (look) Thikĩrĩria (listen).

.................................................................


1. Third Person

A few moments later or anytime today – Him/Her

It is common to start all the sentences with ‘We’ (in this case stated with a rising tone to differentiate with the second person above) to mean him/her, but it is an unnecessary repetition. ‘We’ is pronounced like in Wednesday

Note that the ‘third person’ prefixes are ‘Egũ, Ekũ, Egwĩ and Ekwĩ’ depending on the verb in the future of today.

(We) Egũkĩra dagĩka ikũmi ciathira – He/She will wake up ten minutes later.

(We) Egwĩthamba na maĩ mahoro – He/She will take a bath with cold water.

(We) Ekwĩhumba nguo naihenya – He/She will put on my clothes quickly.

(We) Ekũruga ũcũrũ wa mũtũ wa mũhĩa - He/She will make some porridge with sorghum flour.

(We) Egũcoka ahinge mũrango oima – Then He/She will shut (lock) the door after leaving.

A tomorrow or anytime in future – Him/Her

Note that the ‘third person’ prefixes are ‘Ago, Age and Aka,’ in the future beyond tomorrow

(We) Agokĩra dagĩka ikũmi ciathira – He/She will wake up ten minutes later (tomorrow or even next year).

(We) Agethamba na maĩ mahoro – He/She will a bath with cold water.

(We) Akehumba nguo naihenya – He/She will put on my clothes quickly.

(We) Akaruga ũcũrũ wa mũtũ wa mũhĩa - He/She will make some porridge with sorghum flour.

(We) Agacoka ahinge mũrango oima – Then He/She will shut (lock) the door after leaving.

Exercise 3.

Write the following words in the third person tenses above i.e.

Example: ria (eat) 1. Ekũrĩa 2. Akarĩa

Tengera (ran), Ikara (stay), Koma (sleep), ona (see), igua (hear), ĩkĩra (put), ruga (cook), aka (make – construct), rĩma (dig), rũgama (stand), tonya (enter), tuma (sew), rora (look) Thikĩrĩria (listen).

.................................................................


Vocabulary

Niĩ - Me

Ngũkĩra – will wake up (the ‘N’ stands for the first person)

Dagĩka – minute (minutes)

Ikũmi ciathira – literally ‘ten are finished’ but the correct translation is ‘after ten minutes (ten minutes later).’

Ngwĩthamba – I will take a shower

maĩ mahoro – cold water

maĩ mahiũ – hot water

maĩ mararu- warm water

Ngwĩhumba – I will dress

Nguo – clothes

Naihenya – Quickly

Kahora – Slowly

Ngũruga – I will cook, ruga - cook

ŨcũrũPorridge, Cai – tea, kahũa - coffee

Mũtuflour

Nĩ ngũcoka – I will come back (Also means ‘after’ – Ndarĩa nĩ ngũcoka nyue – after eating, I will drink)

Uma – come out, tonya (Ingĩra) – come in. It is possible that Ingĩra is a loan word from Swahili – Ingia

Ira – yesterday, Ũmuthĩ (Mũthenya ũyũ) – today, rũciũ – tomorrow,

Kiumia gĩkĩ – this week, Kiumia kĩrathirire – last week, kiumia gĩgũka – next week

Mwaka ũyũ – this year (note that the day and year are nouns in the first class like humans).

Mwaka ũrathirire; Mwaka ũyũ; Mwaka ũgũka.

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Comments 6 comments

Emmanuel Kariuki profile image

Emmanuel Kariuki 2 months ago from Nairobi, Kenya Author

Hi Kamiti.

I had a pressing project that took all my time. NOw let's see how you are fairing. I have started up, coming down to your earliest.

1. Ugutengera (You will run - This tense is for today)

2. Ukatengera (Ugatengera - tomorrow and any time in future.

Ukuthikiriria- always change the K to G - Uguthikiriria

You are doing well.

..................................

1. Ndatengera (I ran - it is a past tense of a moment ago)

Ngutengera- I will run today

2. Ngatengera (I will run, tomorrow or sometime in the future)

if you did not intend to use past tense, review.

.............................................................................

Ngorora - Change the O to U - Ngurorora

This your first exercise is perfect - almost save for that spelling.

You are doing very well - 85% - give yourself a pat on he back.


Kamiti2810 profile image

Kamiti2810 3 months ago from Nairobi, Kenya

Wimwega Bwana Kariuki, niiurite (you are lost) muno. I have tried the following exercises on anytime tomorrow and into the future - you second person tenses:

Tengera:

1. Ugutengera

2. Ukatengera

Ikara:

1. Uguikara

2. Ugaikara

Koma:

1. Ugokoma

2. Ugakoma

ona:

1. Ukuona

2. Ukona

igua:

1. Ukuigua

2. Ukaigua

ĩkĩra:

1. Uguikira

2. Ugekira

ruga:

1. Ukuruga

2. Ukaruga

aka:

1. Uguaka

2. Ugaka

rĩma:

1. Ukurima

2. Ukarima

rũgama

1. Ukurugama

2. Ukarugama

tonya:

1. Ugutonya

2. Ugatonya

tuma:

1. Ugutuma

2. Ugatuma

rora:

1. Ukurora

2. Ukarora

Thikĩrĩria:

1. Ukuthikiriria

2. Ugathikiriria


Kamiti2810 profile image

Kamiti2810 3 months ago from Nairobi, Kenya

Hi Kariuki,

I have done the exercises for future tenses. Kindly let me know how i have fared:

Tengera:

1. Ndatengera

2. Ngatengera

Ikara:

1. Ndaikara

2. Ngaikara

Koma:

1. Ndakoma

2. Ngakoma

ona:

1. Ndona

2. Ngona

igua:

1. Ndaigua

2. Ngaigua

ĩkĩra:

1. Ndekira

2. Ngekira

ruga:

1. Ndaruga

2. Ngaruga

aka:

1. Ndaka

2. Ngaka

rĩma:

1. Ndarima

2. Ngarima

rũgama:

1. Ndarugama

2. Ngarugama

tonya:

1. Ndatonya

2. Ngatonya

tuma:

1. Ndatuma

2. Ndatuma

rora:

1. Ndarora

2. Ngarora

Thikĩrĩria:

1. Ndathikiriria

2. Ndathikiriria


Kamiti2810 profile image

Kamiti2810 3 months ago from Nairobi, Kenya

wi mwega bwana Kariuki,

Nindageria guika exercise ya bere ukuheaniti. Ngwenda kumenya kana nindamika wega.

Ngai akurathime

(Kindly guide me on the above and below.

Tengera:

1.A few moments later or anytime today: Ngutengera

2.Any time tomorrow or later in the future: Gatengera

Ikara:

1. Nguikara

2. ngaikara

Koma:

1. Ngukoma

2. Ngakoma

ona:

1. Nguona

2. Ngona

igua:

1. Nguigua

2. Ngaigua

ĩkĩra:

1. Nguikira

2. Ngekira

ruga:

1. Nguruga

2. Ngaruga

aka:

1. Nguaka

2.Ngaka

rĩma:

1. Ngurima

2. Ngarima

rũgama:

1. Ngurugama

2. Ngarugama

tonya:

1. Ngutonya

2. Ngatonya

tuma:

1. Ngutuma

2. Ngatuma

rora:

1. Ngorora

2. Ngarora

Thikĩrĩria:

1. Nguthikĩrĩria

2. Ngathikĩrĩria:


Emmanuel Kariuki profile image

Emmanuel Kariuki 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya Author

Thanks Paul,

Locally no one is interested in textbooks on indegenous languages. Perhaps they are waiting till the UN declares them 'endangered' and then get a windfall from the donor funds. I have four publishers for my fiction but none of them will touch it - I tried. Maybe I should try 'ebooks' later.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 4 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

Emmanuel,

Once again you have published a very useful and interesting hub about Kikuyu. I think it would be a very good idea to put all of your language lessons in a textbook and have it published. Voted up and sharing.

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